Monthly Archives: April 2012

Barbecue Chicken Tenders with Mustard Glaze

I’m back!  Sorry it’s taken me a week to post anything new.  As I mentioned last week, I went to Chicago two weekends ago and after 3 ridiculously fun-filled days in my favorite city, it took me a full week to recover.  I kid you not.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Anyway, I’m back in the swing of things and was ready to do some cooking this weekend.  Chicken seemed to be absurdly expensive at the grocery store ($11, really??) so I opted instead for the less expensive chicken tenders.  I scanned through my recipes and found this recipe for Barbecue Chicken with Mustard Glaze that sounded easy and delicous so I decided to swap out the chicken thighs for my boneless tenders.  The chicken is rubbed with a mixture of brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika (my OBSESSION!), and salt.  As if that isn’t yummy enough, it’s also brushed with a easy glaze of ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, and red wine vinegar and grilled until perfectly cooked.  Extra glaze is set aside as a dipping sauce for this chicken but honestly, the flavor is already so good, you don’t even need the additional glaze.  This chicken is sweet and smoky and right up my alley.  Feel free to stick with the recipe and use thighs, just follow the cooking directions in the link.  Officially a new favorite. 

The ingredients:

Combine brown sugar, garlic powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, and salt a small bowl.

In another bowl, combine ketchup, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, and dijon mustard with a whisk.

Rub the spice mixture evenly over chicken. 

Place on a grill pan coated with cooking spray heated to medium-high heat. Cook chicken about 8 minutes and turn over.  Brush with half of ketchup mixture and cook another 8 minutes.  Turn chicken over again and brush with remaining ketchup mixture. 

Continue cooking until done or until a thermometer registers 165°F.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Chicken tenders
  • Light brown sugar

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

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Easy Granola

Spur of the moment trips are always the best.  I was at work on Thursday when I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and take Friday off.  When I talked to my friend who lives close by, she said she was headed to Chicago over the weekend for a meeting.  “Take me with you!” I exclaimed.  Next thing I know, I booked a flight and jetted off to my favorite city for an impromptu weekend trip.  After I’d packed and was killing time before heading to the airport, I decided to make a quick snack that would not only be great for the flight but could easily be tossed in our bags as we roamed the Second City.  

Easy Granola is nutty, slightly sweet, slightly salty and well, easy!  Oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, and coconut are mixed together with syrup and a little canola oil and baked until golden brown.  Dried fruit added at the end provides a sweet, tart, and chewy delicious touch.  I used a combination of almonds and pecans since I had them on hand so feel free to use any combination of nuts like walnuts, macadamia, cashews, etc.  I also used less coconut since I only had sweetened coconut on hand and didn’t want this too sweet.  I used dried cherries but any dried fruit – cranberries, blueberries, apricots – would be delicious.  And lastly, I substituted blue agave syrup for the maple syrup since I had that on hand also.  This is such a versatile recipe that any combination of nuts, fruit and syrup with make this a delicious snack.  Keep this stored in an airtight container to eat as a snack or toss in with yogurt or over ice cream.  This kept us going all weekend!

The ingredients:

Combine all of the ingredients, except dried fruit, in a pan or bowl and toss until well combined.  (I didn’t read the directions correctly and added the dried fruit here.  It worked out okay but try to add the fruit at the end.)

Spread mixture onto a large baking sheet and bake in a 350° F oven for 25 minutes.

Toss the mixture once during baking so the edges don’t burn.

Add in the dried fruit and allow mixture to cool before storing in an airtight container.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Pecans and almonds
  • Blue agave syrup
  • Sunflower seeds

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Real Simple Magazine

Sesame-Soy Green Beans

As I mentioned a few days ago, I’ve got an Asian-inspired veggie which makes for a really tasty side dish.  Since I’m pretty picky when it comes to veggies, I’m always looking for different ways to prepare the ones that I like so I don’t get so bored with them, I give up eating them altogether!  What a better way to liven up some green beans than with a little bit of salty soy?  That’s exactly what these Sesame-Soy Green Beans are.  Bright green beans are cooked and tossed with a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, and red pepper flakes before being sprinkled with nutty toasted sesame seeds.  I don’t know what it is about the combination of soy sauce and garlic but if you put in in a martini glass, I just might drink it.  But I digress…I love bagged veggies (even if they are a little more expensive) because it just helps speed things up but use whatever green beans you like here.  Consider this preparation with other veggies too, like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, spinach or brussel sprouts.  Yum!

The ingredients:

Prepare green beans by either cooking in a microwave according to package directions or on the stove (cook in boiling water for 5 minutes).  Sauté garlic and red pepper flake in sesame oil in a skillet over medium-high heat for 30 seconds.  

Add green beans, soy sauce, and salt; cook 2 minutes, tossing frequently.

Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Asian-Glazed Chicken

I don’t know how or why or when this happened but I’ve become a total sucker for homemade Asian-inspired dishes.  I’ve always loved soy sauce and often would eat plain white rice and soy sauce when I was a vegetarian.  Now that I’ve discovered other heavy-hitting flavors, like ginger, chili sauce, peanut sauce, and sesame oil, I’ve realized what I’ve been missing out on.  This Asian-Glazed Chicken combines some of those flavors for a slightly sweet, slightly spicy,  and overall delicious chicken dish.  Chicken breasts are marinated in a mixture of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, chile paste, and garlic and baked until perfect.  The marinade, which is later cooked and used as a basting sauce, is sweet, tart, spicy, and garlicky.  As usual, I used chicken breasts but this recipe uses chicken thighs so use whichever you prefer.  I served this with some Asian-inspired green beans which I’ll have for you later this week!

The ingredients:

Combine vinegar, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, chile paste, and garlic, stirring until honey dissolves.

Pour vinegar mixture into a zip-top plastic bag and add chicken.  Marinate in the refrigerator for one hour, turning occasionally.  Remove chicken from bag, reserving marinade.

Place reserved marinade in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Cook for 2 minutes or until sauce has thickened and is syrupy.  

Place chicken on a rack coated with cooking spray inside a baking sheet.  Baste chicken with reserved marinade and sprinkle evenly with salt.  Bake at 425° for 10 minutes and baste again. 

Bake an additional 8-10 minutes until fully cooked or the internal temperature reads 165°F on a cooking thermometer.  Discard remaining marinade.  (If using chicken thighs, follow directions on recipe for cooking process.)   

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Avocado Chicken Salad

Avocados are in season right now and seem to be overflowing in the produce bins at my grocery store.  I didn’t start eating avocados until I was an adult, not because I didn’t like them, but because I didn’t even want to try them.  It seems that avocados are either loved or hated by most but there is nothing but love for them in my home.  This recipe for Avocado Chicken Salad appealed to me not just because of the fresh avocados but because I also love chicken salad.  But this chicken salad is different than most others I have had because there is not one lick of mayonaisse in this dish.  Cooked chicken, avocado, plum tomato (or salsa), and cilantro are tossed in a light vinaigrette of lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  I used precooked chicken strips to save time and replaced the salsa in the recipe with a fresh plum tomato.  The avocados provide a rich creaminess and the fresh lime juice brings such a brightness that makes it difficult to stop going back for more.  I ate mine with whole-grain crackers but dig into this with any of your favorite chips or over lettuce.  If you like avocados, this chicken salad is ridiculously good.

The ingredients:

Combine lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper into a bowl.  Whisk until well blended.

Add chicken and cilantro and combine.

Add avocado and tomato (or salsa) and toss gently.

Serve with chips, crackers, or over lettuce.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Plum tomato

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Grilled Asparagus with Caper Vinaigrette

I could eat asparagus just about everyday so it’s important that I find different ways to enjoy this healthy green vegetable.  While I generally enjoy it simply steamed, I like to switch things up a bit and throw these spears a little curveball, like this Grilled Asparagus with Caper Vinaigrette.  Fresh asparagus is grilled with olive oil and salt before being drizzled with a vinaigrette of red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, dijon mustard, and capers.  The capers provide a subtle briney, salty punch while the viniagrette itself is garlicky and light.  A sprinkling of fresh, sweet basil rounds out this Spring side dish which is good eaten warm or cold.  I definitely plan on making this again!

The ingredients:

In a shallow dish, toss the asparagus (with ends snapped off) with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Place asparagus on grill rack coated with cooking spray and heated over medium-high heat.  Grill for 4 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning after 2 minutes.

Combine remaining salt, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, black pepper, and garlic in a small bowl and whisk together.  Slowly pour remaining olive oil into vinegar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Stir in capers.

Arrange asparagus on a serving plate and drizzle with the vinaigrette.  Sprinkle with ribbons of fresh basil.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Tequila-Glazed Grilled Chicken

I’ve experimented with different kinds of rubs to put on chicken over the years and have managed to accumulate a pretty big pile of rub recipes.  I’ve decided that any kind of spice-rubbed chicken is probably my favorite way of eating chicken any given time – more so than chicken parmesan or fried chicken.  I have a healthy collection of spices in my cabinet so I’m always prepared for anything.  So, what’s better than spice-rubbed chicken?  Glazed spice-rubbed chicken! 

This Tequila-Glazed Grilled Chicken not only has a rub of cumin, chili powder, and chipotle chili powder (one of my favorites!) but it’s also glazed with a sauce reduction of tequila, pineapple juice, honey, lime, and red pepper flake.  The rub provides a ton of flavor and a little bit of heat which pairs wonderfully with the slight sweetness of the glaze.  I used regular chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs but use whatever you like and cook accordingly.  And don’t worry if you don’t like tequila – it provides a subtle background flavor without making this taste like a drunken chicken dish.  I’m going out on a limb here and calling this one of my favorite chicken dishes so far so please, give it a try!

The ingredients:

Combine the cumin, chili powder, salt, and chipotle chili powder and rub evenly over the chicken.

In a small pan, bring the pineapple juice, tequila, and honey to a boil and cook until reduced (about 10 minutes).  Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl and add to the juice mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, and stir in lime rind, lime juice, and crushed red pepper.

Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray and grill, basting each side occasionally with juice mixture, until chicken is cooked thoroughly (approximately 8-10 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 165ºF internally.)

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Chicken breasts

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

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